Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bob Wiseman-The Interview

Bob Wiseman @ Mariposa
     I’ve always had this love of music and pop culture that transgresses the normal persons casual love of a good band or live show, always having to know more about the artist or group, always wanting to get backstage and see what’s really going on... I believe that’s why I started this Blog and I also believe that’s why I have needed to take it farther than I had originally planned.  What I’m getting at is at this past weekend’s Mariposa Folk Festival I had it in my head that I was going to interview 2 to 3 different performers for the Blog, in the end I only had gotten up enough nerve to approach just one, and the only reason I approached him was after watching his performance there was just this approachable nature about him that made it easy for myself to talk to him..I met him in the food tent and we talked about Folk Festivals, we talked about his performances and we talked about tea...So here is my very first interview with the often imitated, but certainly never duplicated Bob Wiseman

SSGS-Is this you’re first Mariposa?

BW-No...third, I played… let’s see I played when it was in Barrie and I also played it when it was at Ontario place in the ‘90’s. I come from the folk festival world, I’m from Winnipeg and I basically moved to Toronto to study modern piano music because I played a piano workshop at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the people on the workshop that were older than me were all kind of like impressed and wondering who I was and what I was doing in Winnipeg and it made me feel like their level of impressnability* …is that a word or did I just make that up?

SSGS -You made that up but that’s cool

BW-their level of impressnability*

SSGS -I’ll Google it later

BW-I tried to avoid saying that they were so awe struck because that’s just way to hambonish but anyways they were so fuckin’ blow away that they were like “what the fuck guy you gotta come to Toronto you gotta get some rep” so that’s what I did and as a result of that I got into Blue Rodeo and lots of other things happened so but I feel like this is where I came from you know the kind of mentality of Folk Festivals that I knew of as a kid in Winnipeg

SSGS -they’re huge out there?

BW-Well they’re huge now. They’re kind of a phenomenon of summer all over the place, but it wasn’t so in the 70’s there were like a few and Winnipeg was kind of like it was the big one at that time but now that’s kind of become there’s a few really big ones now Edmonton is like the big big one in Canada I think but you know the cooler the ones that are not like massive are actually cooler  and they’re more like what was cool about Winnipeg , Mariposa’s got some of that vibe, Shelter Valley’s really got that vibe..Have you been there?


BW-it’s really small scale, it just makes it way more a certain way

SSGS -So you’re playing tonight?

BW- Yeah I do 4 more shows I do one tonight that’s like a concert of my stuff and then I think I’m in 3 workshops tomorrow. 

SSGS -So what can people expect at tonight’s show?

BW-For the last 10 years I’ve been making films about my super 8 or video or animation or stop motion or flash animation so I do them together I show the films it’s a multimedia thing..but it’s ultimately much more makes a…I played a song about Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was the president of Haiti who was kidnapped and Canada played a role in that and I like writing songs like that but it’s hard you know that song that Dylan wrote about Ruben Carter? You know if you hear that on first listen and you’ve never heard it it’s hard to follow the storey you know but that doesn’t mean that it’s not short of an amazing song but you need to listen to it a few times you know the more the complex the song know you go to a book reading or a poetry reading it’s really hard (he laughs) I like poetry a lot but I hate poetry readings , you miss one thing and you’ve lost the thread of the whole thing. So since I started making films it kind of changes the rules you know I feel more people understand what’s going on in the song, and even if they don’t there’s a whole other level of amusement for simplicity in watching.

Bob then excuses himself from the interview while he goes and gets his cup of tea, we than have brief conversation about why he regularly chooses tea over coffee...he made quite a good case for tea, and as a non-tea drinker I’m thinking of giving it a try

BW-I started drinking tea over coffee more often than not because to me coffee requires some work , I don’t like it first thing in the morning if I’m not fully awake yet, I like it really when I’m feeling fresh…I love the smell, I love the taste, I’ll have to run to the can very quickly after I have coffee, tea doesn’t work that way so tea it feels like I can yeah I can ..It’s also kind of coffee half the time kind of tastes shitty to me, it’s like why am I doing this, why is everyone doing this, it’s been advertised successfully coffee coffee’s what you do, that how I feel.

SSGS-Actionable”,  you’re still performing it?

BW-I am, not here but I’m doing it next in New York on Oct 1st I’m very excited about that and the guy that books me his name is bob Wilson and he works with a company called Live tour and these kind of booking agents they have conferences where they show different acts to people who buy for different theatres blah blah blah and artists often go and showcase …and interestingly to me was he went to it this year like in March I think he called me and I’ve done it but I didn’t do it this year and the play is new it’s from last year..but to make a long story short I got 3 gigs from it without having to go. Just because people had heard about it doing well I think during the circuit of the Fringe Fests and other things last year so that really felt great and so I’m doing it in Newfoundland , I’m doing it in British Columbia, and in New york coming up. I’m actually in the middle of a theater work shop what’s called an intensive right now for 3 weeks, I just took off to honour these 2 dates I’m working in Calgary right now till the 18th of July  with a theater company there called “one yellow rabbit” and it’s really immensely stimulating creative learning about structure and movement and you know it’s effecting even the way I was performing  right now which was a surprise to me  SSGS-in what way?…in the way I’m thinking about what I’m doing with my body while I’m playing

SSGS -So what’s next?

BW-Well next is I’m in the middle of a record and I’m very happy with it, finishing that record, finding a home for that record…touring in the fall through Canada writing some new kind of performance work like “Actionable” , I’m working on something about Stephen Harper and him trying to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board which he will probably do , I was trying to write a kind of a theatrical piece about that , might be for the Fringe Festivals next year I don’t know. I also want to write something about Harry Neilson, I really loved Neilson a lot , I wanted to write something about him and gun control which he became interested in after Lennon was murdered…I’m producing records for lots of people and I’m always looking for I try to do music for Film and TV. You know when you’re an artist you don’t know really how you’re gonna get by generally, you’ve gotta have irons in the fire and you’ve gotta shake people’s hands like a “Oh you’ve got a blog you wanna do an interview “you know you’ve gotta just nurture stuff too, I’m not saying that it’s phoney because I’m willing but that’s how it works.

Joe Cornelisse-SSGS

*Sorry Bob , I Googled  impressnability and it’s a no go

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